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More workers standing up on the job

97.3 KIRO FM news editor Seth Keller credits the switch to stand up workstations for lessened back pain and increased energy. (Josh Kerns/MyNorthwest.com)

There’s a whole lot of standing around going on these days
in the 97.3 KIRO FM newsroom, and experts say that’s a good thing.

Standing workstations are a growing trend across the
country, as more and more people look to counter back
pain and other problems that come with sitting for long
hours at a desk.

“My lower back doesn’t hurt as much when I stand up and I
have more energy because when I’m sitting I’m just staring
at the screen and it’s just draining,” says Seth Keller,
news editor with 97.3 KIRO FM.

Keller’s not imagining it. Jack Dennerlein, an expert in
workplace health with the Harvard School of Public Health
says sitting for too long greatly increases the risk of
cardiovascular disease and is a common source of back pain
and other problems. He says standing desks offer a
number of advantages.

“Your body is expending more energy. Your heart rate is
slightly elevated compared to when your sitting. The
other advantage that people suspect is your back can get
into a more neutral posture,” Dennerlein says.

Sales of standing workstations are skyrocketing. A new
report featured at Boston.com says sales have increased
by “triple digits” in the last decade.

“Sit-stand desks have moved from a niche product category
to one that is standard in the top commercial furniture
retailers,” said Ann Hall, a marketer for the Danish
manufacturer Linak Group, which makes components that
elevate desks.

But it does take some adjustment. Keller says he’s had to
learn different positions for working and standing to get
comfortable, and still needs to sit occasionally.

“It’s a lot different typing standing up and it’s harder
to use the mouse,” he says. But overall he’s happy to
have the option. And Dennerlein says there are
significant benefits for employers as well.

“If this catches on in the workplace what we hope to see
is workers that are healthier and more productive,”
Dennerlein says.

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